28 September 2009

New No on 1 Ad

If you haven't signed up for my Raffle for Marriage Equality yet, you can start by donating here:

24 September 2009

Take a Volunteer Vacation to Help No on 1

The No on 1 campaign is looking for volunteers to come spend a week or more helping out with the campaign this next month. David and I are among the folks who have offered up space in their homes to host a volunteer or volunteers. As I've mentioned before, this campaign is very much neck-and-neck, so if you can swing some time to come help, every little bit counts. The volunteer vacation page is here.

For folks who have the time but are worried about the cost or if you can help provide air miles or other help to get volunteers here, Travel for Change is coordinating travel assistance for this effort. You can find out more about that here.

The Truth About Yes on 1 Teacher

22 September 2009


David and I are offering our spare room to host volunteers, we've donated and will continue to donate, and I'm working on squeezing in time in schedule to volunteer. Every little bit helps.

19 September 2009

Who Arrrrrr You?

Thanks be to Red Mary Kidd for this one. After a long night of plunderin' the seas, a meme like this was a comfort to these accursed bones. May all ye scurvy dogs have had a bountiful ITLaPD!

My pirate name is:

Dirty Roger Flint

You're the pirate everyone else wants to throw in the ocean -- not to get rid of you, you understand; just to get rid of the smell. Like the rock flint, you're hard and sharp. But, also like flint, you're easily chipped, and sparky. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from piratequiz.com.
part of the fidius.org network

14 September 2009

Why Anna is a Merry Jew*

Stolen from these folks: http://www.greenposting.org/

Actually, the dog's name wasn't really Anna (though that's what I'm going to call her), nor was she particularly merry or, to my knowledge, Jewish. Her owners left her at the wife's parents' house this afternoon while they went down to Boston for a Red Sox game. When they got back, they found the dog extremely off balance and dribbling urine, so they did what most people do. They freaked out and brought her to see me.

When they got here, one of my techs brought the dog out back for me to evaluate, and sure enough, she was very wobbly on her feet, dribbling urine, and if she sat for a bit, she'd kind of slowly fall over and stare off into space. And I declared to all assembled, "That dog is stoned, and I am going to assume she ate pot until proven otherwise." So my techs did the usual asking of questions: Antifreeze? No. Mushrooms (not necessarily the magic kind)? No. Prescription drugs? No. Recreational drugs? No.

But then on the second round of questions (from me), it turned out that the owner's father is being treated for leukemia and, "There may be weed in the house." She was fairly certain, though, that he was anal-retentive enough to keep it locked away from the grandchildren and said parents are currently in England, so wouldn't likely have left stash out for the dog to find. And then a light bulb went on and she said to spouse, "Oh shit, remember those pot cookies we threw away yesterday?"

Turns out there had been some old chocolate chip cookies with a "secret ingredient" that they'd thrown in the kitchen trash, but they'd never actually gone back to check the trash when they found the dog falling over because they'd panicked. So spouse went back to the parents' house and sure enough, "Anna" had gotten the lid off the trash and all but two of the cookies had been snarfed. Mystery solved!

Fortunately, this is a good thing, as cannabis toxicity is a fairly minor concern and most cases will recover in a day or so with little to no intervention. We could have admitted her for IV fluids, but since "Anna" had probably gotten into the cookies about 9 hours or so earlier and she tends to get stressed out (or, dare I say, paranoid?) in veterinary offices, her owners decided to let her sleep it off at home.

The funniest part? The owners brother had been over to walk the dog in the afternoon and had noticed she was walking a little bit funny then. The time he came over to walk her? 4:20.

*Get it? Merry Jew Anna?

10 September 2009

Because I Haven't Used This Tag Enough

I first blogged about this very British product here.

From the UK's Daily Mail:

For generations it has risen above all the schoolboy sniggers.

But it appears the smirking has to stop as modern sensitivities struggle to cope with the jokes prompted by one of our most loved puddings - Spotted Dick.

Now those sensitivities have seen a prudish council changing the name to Spotted Richard after canteen staff tired of the giggling.

The latest attempt to censor classic Victorian suet and raisin pudding has angered traditionalists, who have fought several battles in recent years over the name.

The defenders of the old ways have been joined by Klaus Armstrong-Braun, a councillor who was taken aback when he saw the name change in the canteen at the headquarters of Flintshire council in North Wales.

'I couldn't believe it, it seemed ludicrous,' he said.

'Spotted Dick is part of our heritage.

'It just seemed political correctness gone mad.

'There was a sign in the dining room for things like rice pudding and then this Spotted Richard - I had to ask what it was.

'Whoever has changed it needs to be told they are being silly.'

Yesterday a Flintshire spokesman explained that Spotted Richard was now on its menus at Mold county hall because of 'childish comments' from diners.

He said: 'The correct title for this dish is Spotted Dick.

'However, because of several immature comments from a few customers, catering staff renamed the dish Spotted Richard or Sultana Sponge.

'This was not a policy decision - staff simply acted as they thought best to put an end to unwelcome and childish comments, albeit from a very small number of customers.'

It is by no means the first time the name Spotted Dick has come under threat from the PC brigade.

In 2001, Tesco also opted for the name Spotted Richard, claiming women shoppers were offended by having to ask for Spotted Dick.

Others followed suit, with Gloucestershire NHS Trust among those who tried to popularise the 21st century version.

Both eventually admitted defeat, and yesterday the Pudding Club - which seeks to preserve traditional British desserts - predicted that Flintshire would go the same way.

'This is totally bonkers,' said chairman Peter Henderson.

'Spotted Dick is part of our heritage, and I can't believe people are really offended by it.
'If they were changing the name in a tongue-in- cheek way, that would be fair enough - I've seen it sold as Blemished Richard.

'But for a council to ban the name is a waste of time and money.'


*Gore alert: Bloody pics below!*

After spending the midweek getting through what may or may not have been the piggy flu (still haven't heard test results), I thought I was ready to head back to work on Saturday. I was still a little on the weak side, but I had slept, I was rested...

...I was so very wrong.

In general, our two busiest weekends of the year are Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend - the two bookends of tourist season here in Vacationland. I also worked Memorial Day weekend, and it was pretty manageable. The rains were starting, people were nervous about spending money, and while we were reasonably busy, we were spared too much hell. Not so for Labor Day weekend, though.

The weekend came after a week or so of gorgeous weather with the beginnings of dry, autumnal air, so the hordes descended like we hadn't seen for at least a couple of years. And at the clinic it really, really showed. In the course of my nominal 15 hour shift, I saw 24 cases, which exceeds the Upper Limit of Manageability (ULM) by quite a few. In fact, the overage could have made for a moderate night in itself.

The end result was that my so-called 15 hour shift lasted for 21 hours. And by the time I collapsed in the overnight room and managed enough of a sleep that I could drive home without being a menace to others, I had been at the clinic for about 28 hours. I got home about 30 hours after I'd left, then got up the next day to do it again.

Thankfully, Labor Day itself squeaked in right about at the ULM. Truly, the most beautiful sight of the day for me was driving up the Turnpike to work and seeing tens of thousands of vehicles heading south. Traffic was literally at a crawl or a standstill all the way up to the 20 mile marker, and they were all leaving for the season. Had I not been driving, I'd have danced a little happy dance to celebrate.

Of course, not all my cases were happy ones. One of the first ones I admitted Monday night was an old brittany spaniel who turned out to have a bleeding mass on her spleen. About 80% of these masses are malignant hemangiosarcomas, which I understand are fairly rare in humans but are very common in dogs. Survival times for these are incrementally better with surgery and chemotherapy, but the bottom line is that about 95% of cases are dead within a year, even with aggressive chemo. In a nutshell, double plus ungood.

Still, the owner wasn't quite ready to say goodbye and opted to proceed with a transfusion and surgery. I was able to pick up the bleeding mass readily on ultrasound, but I was reluctant to put the dog into potentially stressful positions because of the hemorrhage and shock and had missed a couple of other masses in the spleen. Note the fist-sized clot I took out of her abdomen.

090809Hemangiosarcoma 001

I had also not been able to get good views of her liver and had not seen one large mass taking up most of the quadrate lobe, which is essentially a time bomb waiting to blow. I called the owners during surgery just to make sure it wasn't going to change their decision, and it didn't. I also could feel at least two other nodules in the liver that weren't readily visible at the surface. And this is the blood I suctioned out of her abdomen.

090809Hemangiosarcoma 002

That's like a pint and a quarter. If it were Ben & Jerry's, you'd gain about a pound eating it, though I'm not sure it's a flavor that'd sell. It's also more blood than I transfused into her, but it's clear that without the transfusion first she would not likely have survived surgery. As it was, she did relatively well and went home the following afternoon, albeit on borrowed time.

In Cheerier News...

I finally got the chicken coop up on pressure-treated stilts today. And for extra butch points, I did it all by myself. Well, Tuck supervised, but I provided all the muscle. Despite my efforts at engineering the coop to be relatively light, it's quite a heavy and bulky beast. But by cleverly using braces and leverage I was able to get the stilts on one side firmly screwed in place, then jack the other side up with my shoulder and a brace board to get the stilts on the other side. I didn't even strain my back doing it, either.

I also got a double layer of predator-deterring chicken wire laid across the top with a layer of mylar-coated bubble wrap insulation sandwiched in between, plus a layer of chicken wire on the underside for more predator deterrance. Tomorrow will hopefully be spent on getting the corrugated metal roofing on and getting a ramp/hatch in place so they can enter and exit from underneath.

The plan is to enclose the area underneath to they've got a protected area where they can hang out in inclement weather. Aside from that, there are also little details to attend to - latches, window and windowsill, wheels, some sort of system to hold window and doors open, etc., but it looks as though I may actually have it ready for them before really cold weather sets in.

04 September 2009

Same-Sex Marriage Lowers Divorce Rates

From Rachel Maddow. Massachusetts already had a low divorce rate, but since same-sex marriage was legalized in the state five years ago, their divorce rate has now dropped to levels not seen since before WWII. And yet, the Catholic Church, the fundies, and other hate groups still tell us that recognizing all families will hurt marriage.

03 September 2009

02 September 2009

Sinéad's Hand

From Ireland, but very topical here in Maine. Thanks to Joe.My.God. for this one.


Sunday night, in those few hours between David's bedtime and mine, I noticed that I was starting to feel kind of congested and the back of my throat was getting raw. I hadn't had a cold all summer, which is a bit unusual, so I figured it was just a nasty one making up for lost time. It made sleep a bit fitful, but otherwise didn't seem too bad.

Monday brought an afternoon of errands trying to get things done before heading back to work on Tuesday, and then a bit of carpentry trying to press on with the chicken coop, which has languished over the past month. The congestion and sore throat were about the same, but I noticed that I was also starting to feel more achy and light-headed. No fever, though, so I figured I'd just overdone it a bit, had a nice hot bath and a relaxing evening.

Then a while after David had gone to bed, I noticed that I was feeling warmer than I had earlier. Now there was a definite fever, and this was clearly something more than just a cold. So I called in sick to work about 15 hours early so they could get a quick start on finding coverage (since we don't have any sort of backup plan in place for this like we ought), and made plans to go get tested for swine flu. Not because it would change treatment, mind you, but it's The Big Thing at the moment from a public health standpoint and it's the kind of data epidemiologists like to have. I also happen to be taking a class this semester on disease surveillance, so it's even more topical for me.

Anyway, it's been considerably milder than the last time I had flu, with the fever breaking overnight and staying at bay through the day today. Tonight's fever was milder than last night's, too, so I seem to be on the mend quite quickly, though dragging myself to the hospital to get my nostrils swabbed pretty well wiped me out and required a few hours' nap.

I wasn't entirely unproductive, though. The last few days have definitely been autumnal, so it's back to sweater weather for Tuck. David found the second sweater I made for him yesterday and put it on him. It's a nice sweater, but it's always been problematic because it's slipped down his shoulders Flashdance style and then right off his short legs until it's hanging on him like a skirt. I still had part of a ball of the C220 colorway I used for the neck, so I took it off of him for a few minutes today and chain crocheted around the neckline, picking up 3 of every 4 stitches around to pull it in a bit more. You can barely even tell that the crochet is there unless you look closely, and it's really done the trick. He's had it on all evening with no Jennifer Beals poses at all. See?




I also started working on a prototype for a hat design David wants to have done in time for Rhinebeck. It's the first time I've picked up the needles in a few months because of wrist pain. So far they seem to be doing pretty well, but I promise I'll be taking it easy. If David allows, there may be photos in advance of Rhinebeck.